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Nov 7, 2022

Sporting Facilities in Belize City Shuts Down Temporarily in the Wake of Hurricane Lisa

Welcome to this week’s edition of Sports Monday, I am Paul Lopez. With the passing of Hurricane Lisa came devastation across Belize District. Many residents are still picking up the pieces and, sporting facilities across the city were not spared. Hurricane Lisa came in like a raging bull at a rodeo event, leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages to football, basketball, and softball grounds across the city. Here is what I found out.


Rodwell Ferguson

Rodwell Ferguson, Minister of Sports

“Mexico Center in particular got fifty percent damage of the roof, Marion Jones likewise, M.C.C. the roof in the building went off, also Rogers Stadium. So, every building when it comes to sports in Belize City got affected.”

Sporting facilities across Belize City were battered by the ninety-two-miles-per-hour gusts that came with Hurricane Lisa. The roof of the newly built Mexico Center was partially torn off and sheets of aluminum were propelled in every direction, folded like paper clips. The interior of the building, venue for volleyball and basketball games became a swimming pool and is now useless for any sporting activity. We spoke with Ian Cal, the Director of the National Sports Council.


Ian Cal

Ian Cal, Director, National Sports Council

“We could start with the major one which the Mexico Center. That received extensive damage. The entire roof that is there on the structure went off completely. It has a second layer of roofing and that also got damaged. We have done that assessment and inside had water damage and the court and so forth. So, we will see how we have to deal with that. Here at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex we got minimal damage, just some of the drop ceilings that went down in the office space and so forth. We still don’t have any electricity in this area. So, the staff is here so we are mobilizing to see what we will do. By the end of the day we might move to the Civic Center.”

Over at Roger’s Stadium, roofs were flung out of the park and much of the fence did not make it through safely. The sheds on the bleachers were completely demolished and the dugouts for the softball pitch are no longer adequate to provide shelter to players. Forget paying an entrance fee to games, gaping holes along the wall of the compound make for easy access to would be spectators.


Ian Cal

“When we look at Roger’s Stadium it also got some major damage there. Well, the fence was already damaged there. So, what the storm did was just crush it to rubbles. A section that was not damaged was not damaged before was the fence the tennis court. All of that went down. The bleachers all of that went down as well, the roofing of bleachers and the dugout, all of that is gone, and then the fence that separates the football field from the softball field, that entire parking area has been destroyed as well.”


MCC Grounds suffered a similar fate, putting a pause to football activities on the compound. It is being estimated that the damages in total amount to almost half a million dollars. The National Sports Council has already submitted its assessment to the Ministry of Sports and is now waiting for a response. For now, all these facilities are closed. In the meantime, games that are scheduled to be hosted at these venues will be relocated.


Paul Lopez

“In terms of the level and quality of these infrastructures is there anything that can be done during the construction phase to mitigate these damages in the event of these types of weathers. We know that we live along the coast and it may become a yearly phenomenon and it may lead to yearly expenses.”


Ian Cal

“Yes, you are right and I think it caught most Belizeans off guard. It has been years since we haven’t been hit directly by a hurricane of this magnitude. So, I think we will have to revisit the way we build our structures again, ensure that we build it at least to hurricane proof. When it comes to the Mexico Center it is a rather new facility. It is still in process. It is still not finalized yet. So, we will look at how we will rebuild the roofing of this structure to make it more hurricane proof.”


And so folks, that is the dilemma we find ourselves in where sports and sporting facilities are concerned in the Old Capital. But, that is all we have for you this week. Until next time, thank you Belize.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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